Bond 26 questions: The how long (?) edition

Not coming to a theater near you anytime soon

So Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions, says (in remarks reported by Deadline) that James Bond is about to be reinvented and that filming of Bond 26 won’t take place for at least two years.

Also, she said, there’s no actor and no script. Neither will happen until the reinvention occurs.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

So when might Bond 26 come out? The MI6 James Bond website estimates “2025, possibly later.”

That makes sense. Two years from now is 2024. The film would then go into post-production and may not be out until 2025.

Are there potential complications? Amazon, the new owner of studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is yet to be heard from. Would Amazon try to pressure Eon to move faster? Or is the tech company satisfied with all the Bond programming Amazon Prime has?

Is this a surprise? No. Eon is not known for advanced planning.

Some Bond fans hoped it’d be different this time. No Time to Die completed filming in fall 2019. It then went on the shelf until fall 2021.

Eon had time to look to the future if it wanted to do so. But Barbara Broccoli said after No Time to Die came out she was celebrating the tenure of Daniel Craig as Bond. She didn’t sound as if she were in a hurry to deal with a post-Craig era.

What might take place because of this? No Time to Die stirred a strongly mixed reaction in the fanbase. For some, Craig/Bond’s death was a bold creative choice. Others strongly did not like it.

Now, that mixed atmosphere will linger, with at least a four-year gap between No Time to Die and Bond 26.

Anything else? It’s getting harder to imagine the likes of Idris Elba (who turns 50 in September), Henry Cavill, 39, or Tom Hardy (who turns 45 in September) being cast as Bond.

Yes, Roger Moore was in his mid-40s when he began his Bond run but that was a different era.

Yes, Craig was in his 50s when his run finally ended. But he’s a special case, given Broccoli’s strong admiration for the actor. She spoke more than once about being in denial that Craig’s time as Bond was ending.

Broccoli: Decision on new Bond will ‘take some time’

Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions

Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli told Variety that selecting a new James Bond actor is “going to take some time.”

“It’s a big decision,” the Eon chief said. “It’s not just casting a role. It’s about a whole rethink about where we’re going.”

The Variety story was posted today. The interview was conducted Thursday in New York when a new version of Macbeth reopened after a temporary shutdown due to COVID-19. The play stars former Bond Daniel Craig and is produced by Broccoli.

Broccoli again sang Craig’s praises.

“He’s just the greatest actor ever, and I think audiences will be thrilled by this portrayal because he’s funny, he’s dangerous, he’s all the things you would want,” Broccoli told Variety.

The Bond franchise is in flux. Craig has departed after doing five films released over 15 years. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, was sold to Amazon last month. The deal was announced last year.

What’s more, MGM’s two top film executives, Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, are now gone. Broccoli and her half-brother Michael G. Wilson issued a statement to The New York Times last year that they wanted De Luca and Abdy to stay at MGM. That advice wasn’t heeded.

Separately, Amazon made a regulatory filing on Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing valued MGM’s film and TV library at $3.4 billion. Amazon also said it paid off $2.5 billion in debt it assumed from MGM.

Bond 26 questions: The MGM shakeup edition

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Well, the first shoe has fallen after Amazon bought Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for $8.45 billion. MGM’s top two film executives are leaving after Eon Productions said it wanted the duo to stay.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

Is this really unexpected?

No. Companies rarely spend billions of dollars to buy a company and just say, “We’re not going to make any changes.” Acquirers simply don’t do that. Ask the staff of CNN + after new owners pulled the plug on the new streaming service just a few weeks after completing the deal.

Are the departing MGM executives angry?

You couldn’t tell it by the statement that Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy put out to their staff. Variety got a copy. It began thusly:

A little over two years ago we came to MGM to help restore its vibrancy among the storied studios of the last century and we are proud to say, thanks to all of you and your efforts, it is mission accomplished.

Are you a little skeptical?

In these situations, departing executives often get a buyout as long as they stay quiet or say nice things. Executives who get in trouble with a company’s board of directors suddenly find they have a hankering to retire, etc.

What does this mean for James Bond movies?

Hard to say for now. But Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson last year gave a statement to The New York Times that they really, really wanted De Luca and Abdy to stay. Presumably, they’re not happy this week with this development.

What should Bond fans watch out for?

Bond is one of MGM’s main assets. Amazon surely knows this. There is a Bond-themed reality show in the works (a sort of Bond version of The Amazing Race). Will there be other attempts to expand the franchise? We’ll see.

MGM film execs favored by Eon to depart studio, Variety says

MGM logo

Two Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film executives favored by Eon Productions are departing the studio, Variety reported.

Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, the top two executives in MGM’s film division, “have both been let go of the company,” the entertainment news outlet said. An excerpt:

De Luca had recently made overtures to David Zaslav about coming to Warner Bros. Discovery, according to an insider. The rumor mill has been swirling in recent weeks about the executives long-term future, with many predicting that he would be headed for the exit soon.

In July 2021, Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson issued a statement to The New York Times after Amazon agreed to buy MGM. “Mike and Pam understand that we are at a critical juncture and that the continuing success of the James Bond series is dependent on us getting the next iteration right and will give us the support we need to do this.”

The statement quoted the Eon duo as saying, “Amazon has assured us that Bond will continue to debut” in movie theaters, according to the Times. “Our hope is that they will empower Mike and Pam to continue to run MGM unencumbered.” 

De Luca’s title was chairman of MGM’s motion picture group while Abdy was his deputy. Amazon already had its own film operation.

Executive changes are common after corporate acquisitions. Amazon’s $8.45 billion deal for MGM was announced last year and became final in March.

For Eon, the departure of De Luca and Abdy means the company that produces James Bond films will have yet another MGM executive team to deal with. It remains to be seen how this will affect the development of Bond 26. Actor Daniel Craig has exited the role of Bond after five movies from 2006 through 2021.

State of the Bond franchise: Spring 2022

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

The James Bond film franchise, consisting of the films made by Eon Productions, has reached 25 movies. What’s next?

The run with actor Daniel Craig is over with 2021’s No Time to Die. That run lasted more than 15 years, extended by financial problems at Bond’s home studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Eon boss Barbara Broccoli wants to celebrate Craig and No Time to Die. There’s no sign that celebration is over yet.

Since No Time to Die was made, MGM got a new owner in tech giant Amazon. This week, in the U.K., Eon’s 25-film Bond catalog became available via Amazon Prime. Also, Amazon announced a Bond-themed reality show featuring contestants racing around the globe.

But what is happening with the core of the franchise — future James Bond movies?

Is Barbara Broccoli really ready to move on from Daniel Craig? The actor was her choice. Previous Bond actors were chosen by her father, Albert R. Broccoli.

But again, what happens now?

After six decades, the movie business has changed immensely from Dr. No in 1962. Sean Connery’s original film Bond today is derided as “rapey.” Home video and technology changes have altered how viewers get their Bond entertainment.

Once again, Bond is in a state of flux. The character has entered and exited previous such states.

We’ll see how it goes this time.

Eon confirms plans for Bond-themed reality show

Eon Productions on Sunday confirmed plans for a James Bond-themed reality show, 007’s Road to a Million, to be shown on Amazon Prime Video.

Details from the statement issued by Eon:

Prime Video has greenlit James Bond television format, 007’s Road to a Million. The UK Amazon Original series will be produced by 72 Films, in collaboration with legendary James Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and MGM Television. 007’s Road to a Million will join the thousands of TV shows and movies in the Prime Video catalogue.

007’s Road to a Million will see contestants competing in a global adventure to win the ultimate prize of £1million. Filmed in many of the historic locations featured throughout the seminal Bond films, this cinematic format will be a true test of intelligence and endurance. In addition to conquering physical obstacles, the contestants, who will compete in two-person teams, must correctly answer questions hidden in different locations around the world to advance to the next challenge.

Production on the reality show is to start later this year. Eon also provided A LINK for those interested to audition.

Amazon earlier this month completed its $8.45 billion acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio.

Bond questions: The reality show (?!) edition

James Bond is about the join the ranks of Survivor and The Masked Singer when it comes to reality shows. Well, if a March 25 story by Variety is to be believed, that may be in the cards.

Eon Productions, which makes the Bond films, has repeatedly said it’s not interested in 007 spinoffs. However, Variety says Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are backing this project.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

WTF? Over the years, various ideas have been floated for alternatives for Eon’s film series.

For example, you could have low-key, faithful adaptations on TV of Ian Fleming’s original novels while still making the bigger, more expensive movies.

Eon has been consistent — no!

However, based on the description in the Variety story, Broccoli and Wilson have signed on to a crappy, obnoxious reality show. (Are there any other versions of a reality show?)

Did Broccoli and Wilson change their minds? Money has a way of causing people to reconsider.

Where do we go from here? On Jan. 1, 2021, the blog provided “unlikely” Bond spinoffs. The Adventures of Bill Tanner. Cooking With May. Golfing With Hawker.

Excuse me while I run down to the copyright office.

Bond reality show in the works, Variety says

h/t to James Bond Television for the alert.

A James Bond-themed reality show is being developed, Variety reported.

Here’s an excerpt:

Production on “007’s Road to a Million” will begin later this year, and the new show will launch on (Amazon) Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories. Casting is underway and applicants are being invited to send in submissions.

The show will see contestants competing in a global adventure to win a £1 million ($1.3 million) cash prize. Filmed in many of the historic locations featured throughout the seminal Bond films, the “cinematic format” will be a test of intelligence and endurance. In addition to passing physical obstacles, the contestants — who will compete in two-person teams — must correctly answer questions hidden in different locations around the world in order to advance to the next challenge.

Amazon last week completed its $8.45 billion acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, James Bond’s home studio.

Eon Productions, led by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, has said it opposes the idea of Bond spinoff shows on television. However, Variety says Broccoli and Wilson are on board with this project.

Here’s one more excerpt from the Variety story:

The Bond-themed Prime Video show comes during a period of transition for the franchise, which wrapped up Daniel Craig’s acclaimed run last year with “No Time to Die.” Broccoli and Wilson must now find a new actor to handle the role and to help continue to find ways to make the womanizing spy relevant in a changed world.

Bond 26 questions: MGM’s new owner edition

James Bond’s home studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, has a new owner, Amazon. The deal, under regulatory review for months, is now final.

You’d think this would have some effect on the Bond franchise. Naturally, the blog has questions.

What happens next? Now the real work begins.

How so? Eon Productions, which actually makes Bond films, has been publicly lobbying Amazon on a couple of fronts.

First, Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have said repeatedly that Bond films need to debut in movie theaters. They don’t want Bond movies to be on streaming services (like Amazon’s) first.

Second, the Eon duo has spoken up in favor of two MGM film executives, Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy. Broccoli and Wilson have said they want De Luca and Abdy to stay.

The thing is, anytime you have a major acquisition, there is almost always change, including executives. It remains to be seen if Amazon merges MGM into its Amazon Studios unit. The fate of current MGM executives, including De Luca and Abdy, is uncertain for now.

Something else? While Broccoli and Wilson have lobbied publicly, Amazon has stayed quiet. That makes sense while you’re an owner in waiting. Now, Amazon is the owner. With the acquisition complete, we’ll see what changes Amazon intends to make.

How might this affect Bond 26? It’s too early to tell. Eon doesn’t seem to be in a hurry. Eon has been engaged in a long goodbye with now-former Bond Daniel Craig. First, Eon boss Barbara Broccoli wanted to celebrate Craig’s long run as the British agent. Now, she’s producing a stage production with the actor.

By the time, Eon is ready to even think about Bond 26, Amazon may have implemented changes at MGM. As usual, we’ll see.

Amazon says it has completed MGM deal

Amazon said today in a short statement it has completed its acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, James Bond’s home studio.

“Amazon and MGM announced that MGM has joined Prime Video and Amazon Studios,” the statement read. “The storied, nearly century-old studio—with more than 4,000 film titles, 17,000 TV episodes, 180 Academy Awards, and 100 Emmy Awards—will complement Prime Video and Amazon Studios’ work in delivering a diverse offering of entertainment choices to customers.”

Earlier this week, Amazon received European Commission approval for its $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM. The figure includes assumption of MGM debt.

Amazon was waiting on a review by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. But the short announcement didn’t mention the FTC.

Bloomberg News said in a story today that a deadline for the U.S. agency to challenge the deal had passed with no FTC action.

Amazon announced the MGM deal last year. The studio was founded in 1924 with the merger of three companies. MGM has been involved with the Bond franchise since 1981, when it acquired United Artists.

MGM finances the Bond films produced by Eon Productions.